Jim Murphy fails to halt SNP momentum as Labour faces Scottish meltdown

Guy Bentley
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Is Labour in Scotland doomed to defeat? (Source: Getty)

The stream of bad news for Labour's electoral chances in Scotland just keeps on coming.

This morning it's provided courtesy of an ICM poll for The Guardian, showing Labour on course to shed 29 of its 41 seats north of the border.

Jim Murphy, Labour's leader in Scotland, gained respect across the political spectrum for his hard campaigning during the independence referendum. But so far he has failed to drum up any enthusiasm for Scottish Labour, which according to his predecessor Johann Lamont was run "like a branch office of London".

The ICM poll shows the SNP out in front on 43 per cent, with Labour trailing 16 points on 27 per cent. The Tories' ratings remain in the doldrums at 14 per cent, and the Lib Dems are clinging on for dear life at six per cent. The Conservatives would retain their only seat in Scotland, but the Lib Dems would lose eight, including the seat of chief secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander.

In a devastating verdict on Ed Miliband's performance, the polling shows he is even more disliked than David Cameron in Scotland, with a net personal rating of -39 compared with Cameron's -33.

If these numbers are reflected on polling day, it's hard to imagine how Ed Miliband could form a stable government without some accommodation with the SNP. The Labour leader has stopped short of ruling out a deal with the SNP to secure his place in Downing Street.

However, he has ruled a formal coalition with the SNP. Over the weekend, Alex Salmond said if Labour was unable to form a majority government and Ed Balls brought a Budget to parliament the SNP disagreed with, he would “propose an amendment to [that] Budget."

Speaking to Andrew Marr on Sunday, Salmond said:

Hopefully that decisive block of SNP MPs will move the Labour party in a different direction and I think many people south of the border would like to see that as well.

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